Google continues to expand the reach of its RCS (Rich Communications Services) messaging support to more Android users. This week, it announced that Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Globe will offer RCS messaging to their Android phone customers.
What is RCS messaging and why is it important?
RCS is already supported by Sprint in the US and Rogers in Canada. Earlier this week, Google also announced Telenor subscribers in Asia and Europe will be able to use it as well. The new carriers will have their RCS support powered by Google’s Jibe service.
These new carriers are being added in the wake of Google renaming its older Messager app to Android Messages. Google said it is working with most of the major third-party Android smartphone companies, including LG, Motorola, Sony, HTC, ZTE, Micromax, HMD Global (Nokia) and others, to have Android Messages preloaded as the default messaging app on their devices.
Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi are among the companies not listed as participating in this Android Messages preloading program. Google will also preload Android Messages on its own Pixel and Pixel XL phones, along with any Android One-based devices. Finally, Google stated that the Vodafone Group RCS service is also supporting Android Messages (it’s already available in 10 of Vodafone’s markets).
Google also revealed a new Early Access Program for businesses who want to support special RCS messaging features to help promote their brands and offer customers some extra features. Some of the businesses that are already a part of this program include Walgreens, Baskin-Robbins, Gamestop, Sonic Drive-In, Subway, Time Inc., and Uber. Google plans to demo how RCS business messaging will work this coming week at the 2017 Mobile World Congress trade show.